Thursday, December 15, 2011

Census: Report shows nearly 50% of American people are poor or low-income

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/census-shows-1-2-people-103940568.html

QUOTE: Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.
The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families."Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too 'rich' to qualify," said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty. 

Yet another reason to ignore the statistics put out by the Labor Department each week.  By ignoring those who have exhausted their benefits the unemployment rate magically shrinks.  Hmmm...  I'm curious if anyone believes those Employment press releases anymore?  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

USA TODAY: Home electricity prices skyrocking

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2011-12-13/electric-bills/51840042/1?loc=interstitialskip

QUOTE: High taxes, limits on air-polluting fuels and the expense of maintaining an underground transmission system keep consumer costs high, says ConEd spokesman Chris Olert.

Sadly, the pinch is already on families these days because of the economy and this can only make it worse.  I've noticed that nationwide more people are turning to alternative heat sources (such as wood) in response as heat in the winter is one of the bigger drivers of electricity usage.
All of this of course suggests yet another reason to try to be as independent of the electrical grid as possible, but I've probably beaten that dead horse to death enough on the podcast. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cops use Predator drone to nab cattle rustlers

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2073248/Local-cops-used-Predator-drone-arrest-North-Dakota-farm-family-stealing-6-cows.html

QUOTE: Meet the Brossarts, a North Dakota family deemed so dangerous that the local sheriff needed unleashed an unmanned Predator drone to help bring them in.  The Brossart's alleged crime? They wouldn't give back three cows and their calves that wandered onto their 3,000-acre farm this summer.
The same aerial vehicles used by the CIA to track down and assassinate terrorists and militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan are now being deployed by cops to spy on Americans in their own backyards. 

I began writing a book sometime back about a post-collapse scenario, and in that book I used the idea of Predator drones being used to hunt and kill American citizens.  At the time, I thought it was sort of a science-fiction-y idea but you can see it isn't all that far beyond the scope of possibility these days.  Reminds one of the Hunter-Killer robots in Terminator...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Washington Post: Do-It-Yourself Trends a Step Back For Women?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-new-domesticity-fun-empowering-or-a-step-back-for-american-women/2011/11/18/gIQAqkg1vN_story_1.html

QUOTE: But lately, many women (and a few men) are diving into domesticity with a sense of moral purpose. The homemade jar of jam becomes a symbol of resistance to industrial food and its environment-defiling ways. This view has been brewing for a while, a thick stew of Slow Food and locavorism and DIY brought to a boil by recession and anxiety. Suddenly, learning the old-fashioned skills of our great-grandmothers seems not just fun, but necessary and even virtuous.

QUOTE #2: But Paska’s daily life more closely resembles a 19th-century farm wife’s: soaking beans for stews, feeding her backyard chickens and rabbits, drying herbs, baking bread, keeping bees on her apartment roof. Her frugal, home-based life allowed her to leave a desk job she disliked; she now lives on $1,000 a month earned by teaching classes on DIY urban food production and writing about beekeeping and other pre-industrial skills.

QUOTE #3: A few years ago, her friends thought she was nuts. Now, with the economy stagnating and career disillusionment growing, they all want to imitate her. 

How can "self-empowerment" of this type be a step back for women?  If anything this movement to increase what we would call "self-sufficiency" is one of the best things to happen to women (and families in general) for a long time.
Let's hope it really catches on. 

Central Bank Action Yesterday Merely 'Buys Time' for Europe

http://www.cnbc.com/id/45501391

QUOTE: Europe's already crippling debt crisis is set to worsen in 2012, when many of the region's governments are forced to refinance huge amounts of debt. According to Ilian Mihov, a professor of Economics at the INSEAD business school, Italy alone will have to roll over 400 billion euros ($538 billion) in 2012, about 20 percent of its total debt. With yields on bonds at 7 to 8 percent, that could be difficult, he added.

It was interesting to see stocks sail ever higher yesterday, which is definitely a good thing in the short term.  However, with such an 'exaggerated' rise comes the potential for an even deeper drop later so I think it behooves everyone to be a bit cautious about these wild swings up and down.  I'm hoping for a strong economic recovery, but keeping an eye on the long-term trends such as the still excessively-high unemployment figures.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Online Food Storage Calculator

http://www.deepcreeksurvival.com/food-storage-calculator.html

I get asked the following question quite frequently: "How much food do I need to store for my family?"  Well, the easy answer is that it depends on the size/ages, etc. of those in your family.  However, a more specific plan can be generated by a good Food Storage Calculator, such as the one linked above.  I don't know a lot about the web site, which is obviously trying to sell products in addition to providing the Calculator, but as a useful tool for figuring out how much food you need to stock it could be a good resource.

Blog: Tens Of Millions Of American Families Are Living On The Edge Of Desperation – And The Economy Is About To Get A Whole Lot Worse

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/tens-of-millions-of-american-families-are-living-on-the-edge-of-desperation-and-the-economy-is-about-to-get-a-whole-lot-worse

QUOTE: Have you ever been so poor that you had to live in your car?  Have you ever been so low on funds that the only place you could afford to live was a rat-infested motel?  Have you ever spent a night living in a tent city or sleeping in the streets?  If not, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate. 

QUOTE #2: Not only that, 2.6 million more Americans fell into poverty last year.  That was also a new all-time record.  As you read this, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one our of every four U.S. children is on food stamps.  Tens of millions of American families are living on the edge of desperation.  In many communities across the United States, there is so much despair in the air that it is almost tangible.  When you look into the eyes of many Americans these days, it almost seems as if all the hope has been sucked right out of their hearts.  Economic despair is at epidemic levels, and unfortunately the economy is about to get a whole lot worse.

You may have come across this article online as I've seen it in a couple different places.  I can say in regards to the basic theme of the article that in our area we're seeing more and more signs of the desperation talked about. Others must be seeing it as well if the following threads at Survivalistboards.com are any indication (people living out in the woods and increasing crime levels).  At this point you almost have to feel "but for the grace of God go we..." 

Report: Mysterious blast in Iran's Isfahan damaged key nuclear site

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/report-mysterious-blast-in-iran-s-isfahan-damaged-key-nuclear-site-1.398671

QUOTE: According to the Israeli sources, there was "no doubt" that the blast had damaged the nuclear facility, and that the explosion was not an "accident." 

File this one under "hmmmmmm" with everything else going on in the world.  (Related to Monday's post: http://thechippermonk.blogspot.com/2011/11/report-explosion-rocks-iran-city-of.html )

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1979? 1979? Is That You Again?

http://news.yahoo.com/iranian-students-storm-british-embassy-tehran
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/8922993/British-embassy-attack-in-Iran-live.html

Wow.  Talk about history repeating itself.  I was a bit young in 1979 to really grasp what was going on but have seen the ramifications play out over the past 30 years. 
Seems like a definite escalation of the whole Iran Nukes issues, although the conspiratorial-minded will likely wonder if this was encouraged by foreign intelligence services to garner support for military action. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Pakistan Mess....

http://www.skynews.com.au/politics/article.aspx?id=690184&vId=2879514&cId=Politics
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/27/nato-reprisals-pakistan-air-strike
http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=27495&title=No-more-business-as-usual-with-US:-PM
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/26/us-pakistan-nato-idUSTRE7AP03S20111126
http://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-24-troops-dead-nato-helicopter-attack-140517725.html

So much is happening so quickly.  Is this is one of those "catalyst moments" that sometime happen in history?  Pakistan is a nuclear-armed power that doesn't seem to like having its territorial sovereignty questioned (as happened in the Bin Laden raid and the above-mentioned incident).  What will ultimately come of this most recent crisis with Pakistan?  Open conflict?  Safe haven for terrorists?  I'm keeping an eye on news from that part of the world in order to identify any "game-changing" developments that could take place...

FT: The eurozone has just days to avoid collapse

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d9a299a8-1760-11e1-b00e-00144feabdc0.html

QUOTE: I have yet to be convinced that the European Council is capable of reaching such a substantive agreement given its past record. Of course, it will agree on something and sell it as a comprehensive package. It always does. But the halt-life of these fake packages has been getting shorter. After the last summit, the financial markets’ enthusiasm over the ludicrous idea of a leveraged EFSF evaporated after less than 48 hours.  Italy’s disastrous bond auction on Friday tells us time is running out. The eurozone has 10 days at most.

I noticed the poor results from last Friday's Italy bond auction myself, and wondered if it indicated some near-term problems coming to a head....

Report: Explosion rocks Iran city of Isfahan, home to key nuclear facility

http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/report-explosion-rocks-iran-city-of-isfahan-home-to-key-nuclear-facility-1.398312

QUOTE: The reported incident occurred about two weeks after Gen. Hasan Tehrani Moghaddam was killed together with 20 other Guard members Nov. 12 at a military site outside Bidganeh village, 40 kilometers southwest of Tehran. 

To the layman it appears that a number of small infiltration operations are taking place in Iran in an attempt to stop their nuclear weapons development.  It will be interesting to see what else develops in regards to Iran over the next few months.  Let's just hope whatever it is doesn't lead into World War III....

Controversal Flu studies demonstrate potential danger

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/11/scientists-brace-for-media-storm.html

QUOTE: Fouchier's paper is one of two studies that have triggered an intense debate about the limits of scientific freedom and that could portend changes in the way U.S. researchers handle so-called dual-use research: studies that have a potential public health benefit but could also be useful for nefarious purposes like biowarfare or bioterrorism. 

QUOTE #2:  Some scientists say that's reason enough not to do such research. The virus could escape from the lab, or bioterrorists or rogue nations could use the published results to fashion a bioweapon with the potential for mass destruction, they say. "This work should never have been done," says Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute who has a strong interest in biosecurity issues. 

It is frightening to consider that for all the good things technology has brought us it has also opened up more than one "Pandora's Box".  I am concerned that one way or another an Influenza outbreak is one of the more likely disasters we could face one day, so I strongly recommend you take precautions in advance

Monday, November 21, 2011

Stocks down over 300 due to debt, supercommittee worries

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2011/11/21/global-debt-woes-slam-wall-street/

QUOTE: The specter of U.S. lawmakers failing to reach an agreement on debt-cutting measures to avert $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts, coupled with persistent jitters over Europe's debt crisis, sparked a powerful global selloff that knocked American market averages more than 2% to the downside.

QUOTE #2: A congressional Super Committee tasked with crafting a bi-partisan solution to tackle the nation's mounting debt burden appeared stuck at a stalemate with the deadline looming just days away. The 12-member panel was mandated to craft the legislation as part a last-minute agreement over the summer to raise the nation's debt ceiling, staving off what could have been a costly default of American debt.  

First off, I am not particularly in favor of any sort of governmental entity not outlined in the Constitution itself so for me the Supercommittee failure is neither unexpected nor too much regretted.  At the same time, the draconian cuts to the military that are set to kick in at a time of rising tension with Iran and Syria (on top of existing troop operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Central Africa and who knows where else) seems like it could lead ultimately to a game-changing collapse of epic proportions. 
Sort of like Rome in its final years...

What does the surge in farmland purchases/selloffs mean?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/21/us-farmland-idUSTRE7AK0EA20111121

QUOTE: Across the Midwest, the dizzying surge in rural land prices is accelerating a fundamental reshaping of the farm sector in the world's biggest food exporter. Instead of digging in to benefit from the boom in grain prices, the next generation is opting to cash out of the small, family-owned farms that harbor centuries of rural wisdom and deep tradition.

QUOTE #2: On the other side are often investors who view U.S. farmland as the latest hot commodity, with prices soaring at a rate not seen since the 1970s, in some cases to record highs.

QUOTE #3: Large-scale farmers and wealthy outside investors - who are weary of Wall Street's roller coaster - are lining up to plow their money into the perceived stability of farmland. Large parcels of good land can be difficult to find in the U.S., and what is out there doesn't tend to come up for sale very often.

Maybe these investors see something down the road that has gotten their attention?  Many in the Survival/Preparedness community have been talking about the "real value" present in farm-able land for, oh decades I suppose.  It's interesting to see that the big money is catching on as well. 
Also, what are those ex-farmers going to do when the value of the money they've been paid with drop precipitously?  Personally, with how things are going lately I'd rather have the land than some digital paper in my bank account although I don't blame them for wanting to get out of the commercial farming business.   Now small-scale farming on the other hand...

BI: Stock Market Is Following A Frighteningly Similar Pattern To 2007/2008

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-stock-market-is-following-a-frighteningly-similar-pattern-to-2008-2011-11?utm_source=twbutton&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=moneygame-contributor

QUOTE: If we review our history back to 2007 we will remember that the mainstream media, analysts and economists were telling us at that time that the "subprime mortgage" issues were "contained" and that the economy would experience a "goldilocks"slowdown. 

QUOTE #2: However, as investors, "hope" is not an investment strategy.   As investors we must focus on what the market is telling us.   We can hope for the best, which is certainly much better on the human psychology than the depression onset by delving in the worst....   Therefore, what the market is telling us today is a story that it told us previously in 2007.

In a way I think the best case scenario is a repeat what happened four or so years ago.  There are a number of indicators across the board in housing, what's happening in Europe, etc. that make the potential for what's unfolding now in the US and abroad potentially far worse.  Lately I've tried to put on my historian's hat and ask the question:

"When did they first know they were in  the Great Depression back in the 1930s?" 

Friday, November 18, 2011

A good prepping Bible verse...

Often I'll come across a Bible verse that seems to have a specific Survival/Preparedness application but usually I forget about sharing it with listeners as this is not a "Religious" podcast.  However, today I was reading the following verse and it reminded me of how some things are out of our hands no matter what we do in our "prepping life".  I'm a believer that we sometimes need to look beyond ourselves for true comfort in facing the unknown future that seems to draw closer every day.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.  He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be they shield and buckler.  Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.  A thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.  Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.  Because thou has made the Lord, which is my refuge, even  the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh they dwelling.  For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Psalm 91:1-11

That didn't last long... 'Egyptians fill streets to protest new regime'

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/11/18/177807.html

QUOTE: Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rallied Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir square with Islamists in the forefront to protest against what they say are attempts by the country’s military rulers to designate themselves as the guardians of a new Egypt. It was one of the largest rallied in Egypt in recent months. Most rallies in Tahrir have been led by liberal- or left-leaning groups. But Friday’s rally was dominated by the country’s most organized political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, which has rarely come out in full force since the protests that forced President Hosni Mubarak to step down in February. The Brotherhood had until recently avoided confrontation with the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, but now warns of escalating its protest campaign if plans to give permanent political powers to the military are not scrapped.

I remember quite well several months ago when this process first got underway thinking "What if the Islamists rise to power in all these governments being knocked over like dominoes?"  If you do a little research on the 'Muslim Brotherhood' you'll see why that is a concern. 

Massive Reno fire forces thousands of families to "bug out"

http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/reno-fire_2011-11-18

QUOTE: A firefighter suffered first and second-degree burns and an elderly man died of a heart attack while trying to flee a sudden wildfire that spread through the Nevada Sierra foothills and roared into Reno on Friday, blanketing upscale houses, horse pastures and mountain roads in smoke plumes, amber flames and flying embers. Authorities said the worst was likely over, but warned a change in the furious northern winds could refuel the sprawling fire that sent thousands of families fleeing their homes in the middle of the night and blanketed the region's mountain roads in flames. At least 25 properties were damaged and destroyed.

 Often it's not the complete economic collapse or the "Mutant Zombie Bikers" that I think are the biggest threats people face.  Instead the mundane issues, such as in this case an out-of-control wildfire, are the events most likely to impact our lives.  As the quote above states thousands of families had to bug out in the middle of the night to get away from this disaster.  How much time do you suppose they had?  How did they travel with "the region's mountain roads in flames"?
Something to think about...

Uh oh... Foreign hackers cause pump at water plant to fail

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/checkpoint-washington/post/foreign-hackers-broke-into-illinois-water-plant-control-system-industry-expert-says/2011/11/18/gIQAgmTZYN_blog.html

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.bb560ae65a071dc80a1c88fdc371ec35.d51&show_article=1

QUOTE:  Foreign hackers caused a pump at an Illinois water plant to fail last week, according to a preliminary state report. Experts said the cyber-attack, if confirmed, would be the first known to have damaged one of the systems that supply Americans with water, electricity and other essentials of modern life.  Companies and government agencies that rely on the Internet have for years been routine targets of hackers, but most incidents have resulted from attempts to steal information or interrupt the functioning of Web sites. The incident in Springfield, Ill., would mark a departure because it apparently caused physical destruction.

QUOTE #2: "This is arguably the first case where we have had a hack of critical infrastructure from outside the United States that caused damage," Applied Control Solutions managing partner Joseph Weiss told AFP. "That is what is so big about this," he continued. "They could have done anything because they had access to the master station." 

 One of two things will probably come from this: 1) We'll see many more copy-cat issues that could be far more damaging and/or widespread or 2) It will be a wakeup call that PUTTING IMPORTANT INFRASTRUCTURE CONTROLS ONLINE MAY BE  A REALLY STUPID IDEA!

(Glad I got that out of my system...)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Former presidential candidate Steve Forbes: 'Disaster Is Upon Us'

http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/disaster-upon-us-steve-forbes-says-stocks-slump-201720988.html


QUOTE: The Europeans have a matter of days, not weeks or months, to take more dramatic action to stem the crisis, Forbes declares. Specifically, he advocates for the ECB to adopt a TARP-style program and make a "massive buy" of Italian and Spanish debt. Absent that, Europe's sovereign debt crisis could turn into a full-blown banking crisis with major "contagion" implications for U.S. banks and the global economy.

QUOTE #2: "This is a very dangerous crisis," he says. "I'm not sure our policymakers here and in Europe fully realize the disaster is upon us."

I guess I'm sounding more and more like a doom-and-gloomer these days, but as I said earlier today if this is becoming the mainstream thought (Forbes is fairly mainstream in business terms, I would say) then what is being whispered amongst the well-connected and monied elite.
Which begs the question, how far away are we from something NO ONE is ready for?  (I apologize for sounding alarmist but the parallels with the events of 1929 are becoming startlingly clear to me).

Mobius: The next financial crisis will be "Hellish"

http://news.yahoo.com/next-financial-crisis-hellish-way-204303737.html

QUOTE: "There is definitely going to be another financial crisis around the corner," says hedge fund legend Mark Mobius, "because we haven't solved any of the things that caused the previous crisis."  Speaking in Tokyo, he pointed to derivatives, the financial hairball of futures, options, and swaps in which nearly all the world's major banks are tangled up.

Interesting to hear the rhetoric being ramped up, isn't it.  And if this is what's being said in public imagine what things look like behind the scene.  Now would be a good time to look at your financial portfolio and make some decisions about the amount of risk you're exposed to if things start to cascade down.  I'm no financial guru but can say this for certain: If you have an asset you can hold in your hand it's yours (physical gold, tangibles, etc.), otherwise as Gerald Celente just found out you're just holding paper

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UPDATED: Escalation for 'Occupy Wall Street' Thursday?

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/11/16/ows-protesters-calling-for-day-of-action-following-loss-of-camp-in-zuccotti-park/

QUOTE: “No more talking. They’ve got guns, we’ve got bottles. They’ve got bricks, we’ve got rocks…in a few days you’re going to see what a Molotov cocktail can do to Macy’s.”

Seems like the fading support for the Occupy Movement is causing some to consider violence.  And if there's any truth to the notion that the recent coordinated crackdown in various cities is being organized by the Dept. of Homeland Security...  Well, things could get very interesting very quickly.  Stay safe everyone.

UPDATE: BTW, this article has an interesting take on a possibly related event in D.C, or at least a commentary on the media coverage and spin of the Tea Party/Occupy dynamic.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Just Great: Police say 'Occupy Portland' protesters arming for a fight

http://news.yahoo.com/police-portland-protesters-arming-fight-023239672.html

In my own neck of the woods, no less....

QUOTE: Portland police warned on Friday that anti-Wall Street protesters in the city were fashioning makeshift weapons with wood and nails, in advance of a planned move by authorities to clear their two encampments over the weekend.

QUOTE #2: Details on possible plans for violence within the camps come from people inside the encampments who are concerned, Portland police Sergeant Pete Simpson said.  There are reports weapons are being made with wood and nails, that a hole is being dug in one of the parks and that pallets are being turned into shields, said police.


My concern about the 'Occupy' movement has always been the potential for it to turn violent.  It would be all the more dreadful if that started in my own backyard...

Search is on for cause of mysterious radiation wafting across Europe

http://news.yahoo.com/mystery-radiation-detected-across-europe-152226180.html

QUOTE: The hunt is on for the source of low level radiation detected in the atmosphere "across Europe" over the past several days, nuclear officials said today.  Trace amounts of iodine-131, a type of radiation created during the operation of nuclear reactors or in the detonation of a nuclear weapon, were detected by the Czech Republic's State Office for Nuclear Safety starting two weeks ago. After the group reported its findings to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Agency released a statement today revealing similar detections had been made "in other locations across Europe." The IAEA said the current levels of iodine-131 are not high enough to warrant a public health risk, but the agency still does not know the origin of the apparent leak and an official with the agency would not say where exactly it has been detected outside the Czech Republic.

It's little more than a hunch at the moment, but I have a feeling this is going to become an important story in coming days (nothing specific, just a 'feeling').  Perhaps I have this sense as this is similar to what happened after Chernobyl melted down, that is radiation detectors began to pick up increased readings and only then did the Kremlin "come clean" about what happened.  I hope it's nothing serious, but for whatever reason it seems worth keeping an eye on.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Paper: Israel may launch strike on Iran as soon as next month to prevent development of nuclear weapons

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2059462/Israel-launch-strike-Iran-soon-month-prevent-development-nuclear-weapons.html

QUOTE: Israel will launch military action to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon as soon as Christmas, intelligence chiefs have warned. A report by a UN watchdog into Iran’s nuclear ambitions ‘completely discredits’ the Islamic nation’s protestations of innocence, according to Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The International Atomic Energy Agency found that Iran is developing a nuclear test facility, nuclear detonators and computer modelling for a nuclear warhead that would fit on an existing missile.  Sources say the understanding at the top of the British Government is that Israel will attempt to strike against the nuclear sites ‘sooner rather than later’ – with logistical support from the U.S.

If this is true, then (as I said earlier in the week) think about how these developments will affect your country, your region, your city.  We live in a global society now and it's likely that a major conflict "over there" will have ramifications "over here" (wherever that might be). What will happen with oil prices?  Availability of fuel in general?  Food prices?  Will this compel TSA and Homeland Security to tighten up their efforts even more?  What will that mean for ease of travel?  
This is why people prep, folks.  Be prepared.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Reason #7,894 to buy your food locally and grow your own

http://motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2011/11/supermarkets-sell-fake-honey

QUOTE: A third or more of all the honey consumed in the U.S. is likely to have been smuggled in from China and may be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals. A Food Safety News investigation has documented that millions of pounds of honey banned as unsafe in dozens of countries are being imported and sold here in record quantities.

"Honey-smuggling"?  You've got to be kidding, right? 
Unfortunately, according to this article there is a lot to be concerned about.  And if this is happening with honey what other foods might it be happening with?
Yet another reason to get as much of your food as possible from Farmers Markets and your own backyard.

Stocks slump on more Euro fears, DOW down 300 at one point

http://www.cnbc.com/id/45222594

QUOTE: “The problem is, we’ve reached the domino phase, so it’s not about Greece anymore—it’s Italy and if Italy has a problem, then France has a problem too,” said Brian Battle, vice president of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners. “The hope that there would be a solution is now non-existent.” 

As someone who monitors financial developments with an eye on seeing what they can tell us about upcoming events I can say that things are beginning to unfold more quickly, as evidenced by the following news articles covering the same basic set of developments:

http://www.cnbc.com/id/45224770
http://www.cnbc.com/id/45225209 

And then there's this happy, encouraging (yeah, right!) article also from CNBC: 65% Chance of Banking Crisis by End November

Oil going to $200 a barrel on Iran concerns?

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c22b2530-0a2f-11e1-85ca-00144feabdc0.html

QUOTE: In the first hours of the attack prices would surge, on average, by $23 a barrel, according to the survey. Under the worst case scenario, including the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, prices could increase, on average, by $61 a barrel, lifting Brent crude to an all-time high of $175 a barrel. Some traders warned that the increase could be much bigger, pushing oil prices up by $175 a barrel to a dizzying $290 a barrel. 

It wouldn't be that big of a surprise to see it go to that higher number of $290 a barrel the way things are going these days...

Other factors to keep in mind:

QUOTE #2:  The supply glitches continue to plague the market. Although Libya’s oil output has recovered to about 550,000 b/d, it remains well below the prewar level of 1.6m b/d. At the same time, oil production in Yemen and Syria has dropped by a combined 200,000 b/d due to unrest in both countries. In addition, production is running below the expected level in the North Sea, Nigeria and Azerbaijan. 

Definitely worth keeping your gas tank topped off, correct?  And if you have a way to store some extra fuel in a safe way (gas cans or holding tanks specifically designed for that purpose) it might not be a bad idea to do so as well.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Major storm to hit Alaska?

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2011/11/08/alaska-faces-one-of-its-worst-storms-ever-forecasters-say/

Wow!  This looks like it could be a doozy.  I'll be doing another episode later this week on Winter Survival issues, but the simplest things to keep in mind are making sure you have ways of staying warm (duh!) that don't require electricity, adequate food and water reserves, and some kind of backup communication plan in case things start to become problematic beyond what you're ready for. 

QUOTE: "This is an extremely dangerous and life-threatening storm which will be one of the worst on record over the Bering Sea and the west coast," NWS forecasters said in a bulletin Monday afternoon.

QUOTE #2: Winds near hurricane force of 74 mph were expected to generate seas as high as 25 feet in the northern Bering Sea, forecasters said. The winds were expected to raise sea levels as much as 9 feet in the Norton Sound. Those levels combined with the high waves were expected to cause significant coastal erosion and major flooding. The winds may also push sea ice on shore, adding to the dangers, NWS forecasters said.

I would not be surprised if some folks in Canada are also impacted by this event too, so keep an eye on the weather if you're along the periphery of that region as well.  In the first forum I read about this in someone referred to the movie "The Day After Tomorrow", which may not be too far-fetched.

Russia warns against striking Iran

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/8874073/Russia-warns-against-Israeli-air-strike-on-Iran.html

QUOTE: Among its findings are that Tehran was helped by nuclear experts from two countries, believed to be Russia and Pakistan. The Washington Post reported that key assistance was provided by Vyacheslav Danilenko, a former Soviet nuclear scientist, hired by Iran's Physics Research Centre. 

Why is this a survival issue? Consider the following part of the article:

QUOTE #2: A raid on Iran's nuclear facilities would be likely to provoke Tehran into disruptive retaliatory measures in the Gulf that would sever shipping routes and disrupt the flow of oil and gas to export markets. Some analysts have said it could backfire and bolster the theocratic regime to the detriment of the pro-democracy movement, and spawn terror attacks on Israeli and US targets around the world. 

 Not to mention the potential for sparking World War III....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Back to Blogging!

Now that I've been making some progress on the plans for the podcast, etc. moving forward I'll be restarting this blog as a daily "Survival News" aggregation site interspersed with occasional articles about various topics.
Thanks for your patience and here's to the next phase of the Chip Monk Family Survival Podcast. :)
Chip

Friday, October 14, 2011

CMFSP Reorganization

Your humble host is in the process of reorganizing all of the components of the Chip Monk Family Survival Podcast project into a simpler, easier-to-access format and one of the pieces is reconfiguring how I use the blog here.  I plan to restart this next week with a daily news format (similar to what Survivalblog.com does) interspersed with articles, etc. written by myself and listeners of the show.
Thanks for listening!
Chip :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Truth Behind the Wall Street Protests?

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/06/us-obama-idUSN1E7950UK20111006

I try to avoid politics on this show as much as possible, but when it directly relates to a "Survival/Preparedness Issue" it is difficult to do so.  Much is being written about the "Occupy Wall Street" movement at present so I don't need to repeat it all here.  What I will say is this appears to me to be little more than an orchestrated action from the White House, Moveon.org, various Unions, and groups ranging from Communists to others of the leftist ilk.  While perhaps sounding a bit nutty even to myself at this point, it seems to me that this campaign could be an actual strategic part of the 2012 Campaign planned months in advance as an effort to drastically change the current political dynamic (there needs to be something to distract attention from the economy and even more bad news, right?).  Now, none of this is to say that I don't think that maybe they have legitimate concerns, and the truth is I agree with some of their points.  At the same time, they seem to be setting themselves up to be used by people in positions of power as their use of White House talking points seems to demonstrate.
What is worrisome is how easily and quickly this could spin out of control.  If you live in a major city that could be affected by these developments I highly suggest you keep a close eye on this with past events (WTO Riots in Seattle, Watts Riots, Rodney King riots, 1960s unrest, etc.) in mind. 
For some reason this all makes me think back to last March and this article from Blaze.com: The Left’s Economic Terrorism Playbook: The Chase Campaign by a Coalition of Unions, Community Groups, Lawmakers and Students to Take Down US Capitalism and Redistribute Wealth & Power
Not to mention this: Wikipedia page on the 1917 Russian Revolution

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

James Wesley, Rawles' new book out today: Survivors

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1439172803/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Today is the "Book Bomb" day for James Wesley, Rawles' new fictional book Survivors.  If you liked Patriots (or even if you didn't) I have a feeling that this is going to be an interesting read although I do not have my copy yet.  I am going to be placing my order today to try to help it jump up on the Amazon.com charts and support Rawles' efforts.  He has been gracious to the podcast in the past by linking to us and I hope to respond in kind.  I'll do a review once I receive my copy and get a chance to sit down and read it. 

Syria threatens to attack Tel Aviv if Assad Regime targetted by NATO

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4131259,00.html

QUOTE: In a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Assad said: "If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than six hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv." 

Wouldn't take much to set off a World War III these days, would it? 

Changes/Updates on the Chip Monk Family Survival Podcast

I wanted to let my faithful blog-readers know why it's been a bit quiet of late from my end of things. I recently acquired a new web site for the Chip Monk Family Survival Podcast and am working to centralize all my efforts together on a single site. The new domain is: http://www.chipmonksurvival.com/.
My plans are for it to be a combined podcast feed/blog where people can easily locate all of my efforts discussing Survivalism/Preparedness/Disaster Readiness. Once I get it up and running I plan to do more frequent episodes and daily postings.  The blog here will then be mostly specific articles (with illustrations) I have written/am planning to write that will allow me to further explore various topics in greater depth.
Thanks as always for your support as we move this project to the next level. 
Chip :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Interesting Popular Science Web Site: Offbeat Uses for Common Household Objects

http://www.popsci.com/diy/gallery/2011-09/archive-gallery-11-offbeat-uses-common-household-objects

Although not strictly "survival" I thought that some of the ideas presented were intriguing in the sense of following the old Depression-era idea of "Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do or Do Without".  Finding innovative uses for everyday objects we have lying around could become an important skill in the future and it's worth thinking about.  

Dem Governor calls for next suspension of 2012 elections

http://dailycaller.com/2011/09/27/nc-governor-recommends-suspending-democracy-to-focus-on-jobs/

QUOTE: "As a way to solve the national debt crisis, North Carolina Democratic Gov. Beverly Perdue recommends suspending congressional elections for the next couple of years.“I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won’t hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover,” Perdue said at a rotary club event in Cary, North Carolina."

I'm really hoping that somehow she just mispoke because this is one of the most concerning things I've ever heard a politician say.  We've had elections during every turbulent time in our history, including the Civil War and World Wars.  It this "meme" starts getting repeated by other members of her party I am very curious what the response will be.  One of the things we discuss on this podcast is different potential triggers for civil/social unrest.  This would seem to possibly qualify.... 

Report: Earth in the crosshairs of a major solar storm

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2042428/Earth-cross-hairs-huge-solar-storm-caused-sunspot-1302.html

QUOTE: "A sunspot, 62,000 miles across - so big it would dwarf the Earth - is releasing gigantic solar flares that could in theory wreak havoc with electrical communications ranging from handheld electronics such as iPhones to sections of the power grid.  Nasa has detected two X-class solar eruptions from 1302 – the most extreme possible – in the past week. One that occurred on September 24 produced an amazing light show over England last night – but it’s far from over, as the sunspot isn’t yet directly aligned with Earth."

We've talked about the potential effects of a "Coronal Mass Ejection" on occasion, but this seems like a time to especially keep a wary eye out.  And a quick re-read of the story of the Carrington Event of 1859 might be worthwhile as well. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Pakistan: The Next War?

http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/09/23/idINIndia-59503720110923

QUOTE: The dangers could be enormous if Washington and Pakistan, a largely dysfunctional state teeming with Islamist militants and run by a weak, military-cowed government, fail to arrest the deterioration in relations. At stake are the fight against terrorism, the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and -- as Islamabad plays off its friendship with China against the United States -- regional stability.

It's the "security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal" that concerns me....  Even with 20 years having passed since the end of the Cold War Nuclear Preparedness is still an important concept and something we should all be thinking about on some level.

Sign of the Times?: Hay The Latest Target For Thieves As Prices Skyrocket

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/09/22/hay-the-latest-target-for-thieves-as-prices-skyrocket/

QUOTE: Yes, hay, is the new target for thieves.  Round bales that used to sell for $20 are now topping $175.

Good thing there's no inflation, right?

And so it begins....

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4126571,00.html

QUOTE: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday he is adamant about not recognizing Israel as the Jewish state. "They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state," Abbas said in a meeting with some 200 senior representatives of the Palestinians community in the US, shortly before taking the podium and delivering a speech at the United Nations General Assembly. 

As the Palestinians begin their push for "statehood", knowing full well that the majority of UN members join them in their hatred of Israel, look at what their actions are showing.   Even something as simple as their logo demonstrates that they are STILL all about the extermination of the nation of Israel.  
As I said on the podcast last week this will only end badly, folks.  Despite what all the talking heads are saying look at the past 60 years of history, not to mention the past couple thousand years, and then extrapolate what a world-wide conflict might look like that is sparked by another war in the Middle East.  Sadly, that is what I fear is coming.   
 

CNN: Global economy alarm bells ring

http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/22/news/international/global_economy/index.htm

QUOTE #1: "There's a global slowdown underway, probably a recession for Europe and we're teetering on the edge of one," said Keith Hembre, chief economist for Nuveen Asset Management. "There's just one global economy, one with varying degrees of global pain."

QUOTE #2:  "Investors are losing their faith in policymakers' ability to right these economies," said Higgins. "Especially in the advanced economies, policymakers are lot more impotent than they were three years ago during that crisis. People are very skeptical there's any silver bullet."

Sounds like the financial people are starting to get a grip on what's really taking place.  Which is kind of worrisome....  Think about it, if everyone starts trying to dump stocks, commodities, etc. the downturn can only accelerate.   And more and more of the "experts" seem to be waking up....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Great Recession's 'Lost Generation'

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CENSUS_RECESSIONS_IMPACT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-09-22-00-17-27

This was a very sobering read, but it fits with what I've seen around me and the experiences of many from my generation.  There's no way to really know what the long-term impact will be, but it is obvious there will be financial and societal repercussions. 

QUOTE: "Many young adults are essentially postponing adulthood and all of the family responsibilities and extra costs that go along with it," said Mark Mather, an associate vice president at the private Population Reference Bureau. He described a shift toward a new U.S. norm - commonly seen in Europe - in which more people wait until their 30s to leave the parental nest.

The fewer people working the lower the tax revenues will be, meaning that the deficit will continue to outpace all the official projections you see in the media.  It's hard to see a significant improvement in this picture as long as we are repeating the Carter years of the late 1970s.

A Mainstream Look at the 'Bug-Out Bag'

http://survival.outdoorlife.com/articles/survival/2011/03/bug-out-bag

QUOTE: "With this in mind, let’s discuss the value of a Bug Out Bag. This bag (B.O.B. for short) is a collection of goods that you would need to survive if you had to flee your home with no guarantee of shelter, food or water during the emergency. Think of the B.O.B. as your survival insurance policy for any disaster or mayhem."

People spend large sums of money every year on other insurance policies.  Seems like many are waking up to the value of "survival insurance" options, such as "Bug-Out Bags".  

Stocks Fall Off Cliff After Fed Announces New Move

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-21/most-asian-stocks-oil-fall-as-yen-climbs-on-fed-meeting-growth-outlook.html

As one of the comments says after this piece, 'Isn't this basically what the Japanese did to foster the "last decade"?' More 'easing', more 'stimulus' is clearly not the answer or it would have worked by now.  What this seems to show is that the Fed is more or less out of bullets and things are going to start to unfold rapidly.

One quote that really caught my attention was the following:

QUOTE: "Costs to protect debt from Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo rose after the downgrades by Moody’s, which said U.S. support is less likely in an emergency. Credit-default swaps tied to Bank of America added about 40 basis points from yesterday to 375 basis points as of 3:41 p.m. in New York, according to broker Phoenix Partners Group. Swaps on Wells Fargo jumped to the highest since July 2009, climbing 17 basis points to 143 basis points, Phoenix prices show. Contracts on Citigroup rose 19 to 250, according to data provider CMA" 

That means they're calculating that there will not be big bailouts for the major banks this time around.  If you have accounts with any of those companies keep that fact in mind. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Living Off of the Bounty of Your Homestead: A Visual Guide

http://1bog.org/blog/live-off-the-land-2/

So the takeaway from this is that with about 2 acres of usable land a family of four could "make it".  While it doesn't cover Aquaponics or some of the other options available I did think that this was a nice graphic to capture the general parameters for becoming self-sufficient.  Let's hope this is a trend people are getting interested in.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chip at Appleseed

I mentioned at the end of last week that I would be attending the Appleseed shoot located about 3 hours from my home.  My experiences will be the subject of at least one podcast this week but I thought I would link to a few of the pictures from the even along with some brief description and then go more in depth with the episodes this week (pictures courtesy of George Hacker).

The drive to the range that Appleseed was held at was beautiful.  Up in the boondocks despite not being all that far out of the second most populous city in Oregon.

There were demonstrations of various mechanics/shooting forms which I found to be very helpful.  A couple of times I would have an epiphany about something and then when we went to shoot right after I could see the difference in how I shot. 

Chip looks on as the Shoot Boss demonstrates another shooting form (I'm in the green shirt/hunting cap second from the right).

Listening to more instruction on the second day of shooting (proudly sporting my Oregon Ducks pride).

Doing the flinch/eyes open/trigger squeeze exercise with my partner (a nice young man who also shot very well).

Listening during lunch time on the second day as more accounts of the Revolutionary War were shared.  I found this part of the experience to be extremely valuable.

The targets quake in fear as we Appleseeders sharpen our shooting skills....

Shooting from the sitting position (I found this to be a position where I shot quite well from).

Your good buddy Chip doing the "shooting blind" drill to prove that having a good "Natural Point of Aim" (NPOA) is key to accurate marksmanship (I am the guy shooting closest to the camera).
Overall, an incredibly valuable experience which you'll hear more about on the show this week.  You can find out more about this organization here: http://appleseedinfo.org/

Himalayan earthquake kills dozens as rescue operation continues

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/19/himalayan-earthquake-kills-dozens

To everyone who says that all these earthquakes are normal occurrences I say "Really?"  Seems like we've been having a quite an increase in recent years.  If you want to keep an eye on the "big" earthquakes around the world, I recommend the following site: USGS Latest 5.0+ Earthquakes Around the World .

If Greece is the canary in the coal mine....

.... We're in trouble:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/business/global/19iht-euro19.html?hp
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/19/us-greece-economy-idUSTRE78H19R20110919
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/18/greece-debt-phone-call
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.254c8b8888103d7fe30af54d26e4868f.511&show_article=1


And it's coming to the US too: http://www.cnbc.com/id/44556652

Here's my viewpoint on what's transpiring: It's almost a certainty now that Greece will default.  What's taking place appears to be trying to structure an "orderly" default.  What effect will that default have for the rest of the world economy?  The eventual fallout (my guess only) is that what is going to transpire will make the Lehman Brothers collapse look like a minor historical footnote.  This is "Sovereign Debt" we're talking about, after all, and there are many more countries that have a similar problem. 
Keep prepping....

AP: Farmers flee as world's deadliest volcano rumbles

http://news.yahoo.com/farmers-flee-worlds-deadliest-volcano-rumbles-100259369.html

The reason I bring this story to your attention are the following two quotes:

QUOTE #1: "The April 1815 eruption of Tambora left a crater 11 kilometers (7 miles) wide and 1 kilometer (half a mile) deep, spewing an estimated 400 million tons of sulfuric gases into the atmosphere and leading to "the year without summer" in the U.S. and Europe. It was 10 times more powerful than Indonesia's much better-known Krakatoa blast of 1883 — history's second deadliest. But it doesn't share the same international renown, because the only way news spread across the oceans at the time was by slowboat, said Tambora researcher Indyo Pratomo. In contrast, Krakatoa's eruption occurred just as the telegraph became popular, turning it into the first truly global news event."

QUOTE #2: "Temperatures worldwide plummetted, causing crops to fail and leading to massive starvation. Farmers on the northeastern coast of the U.S. reported snow well into July. In France, grape harvests were decimated. Daniel Lawton of the wine brokerage Tastet-Lawton said a note in his company's files remarks that 1816 was a "detestable year" and yielded only a quarter of the crop planted."

Is it reasonable to assume that this could happen again in the near future? With similar results?  Perhaps so, in which case you could imagine what would happen with the social order of today once food supplies run low.  Yet another reason to both store food AND have a garden.  The food you store can get you through the times when crops won't grow well and the garden can provide food during times of normalcy and after a recover from such an even takes place.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Chip Monk Farm & Homestead

It's been a while since I shared some pictures of our adventures here on the farm, so I thought today would be a good day to do so.

Our little Chicken Hotel.  Just perfect for our three lil' ladies.
"Flopsy", "Mopsy" and "Cottontail".  If you guessed my five-year-old son named them, you'd be right.
Our first potato plot that developed.  We've been getting some amazing potatoes out of this bunch.
The beautiful forest surrounds us on all sides and we love to take time to enjoy it.
The little plank bridge that Chip carries all the firewood across.  Yup, that's all there is. :)
Another day ends on the Chip Monk Homestead.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Some good web sites/books on foraging

I try to occasionally talk on the podcast about foraging for the food that exists in abundance around you, with the idea of guaranteeing oneself the ability to eat regardless of whatever else is going on.  There is a lot of information online about foraging, but sometimes it is difficult to glean the good information from the suspect material.
Below are several links (or links to books that are available) about foraging.  If listeners have other books that they'd like to share feel free to drop me an email at: chipmonksurvivalpodcast AT gmail.com .

http://foraging.com/
http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/
http://www.foragingtexas.com/ (for the Southwest US)
http://rkhen.tripod.com/work.htm
http://www.fs.fed.us/ne/newtown_square/publications/research_papers/pdfs/scanned/OCR/ne_rp138A.pdf (Medicinal Plants of the Appalachia Region)
http://firstways.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Field-Guide-Edible-Wild-Plants/dp/039592622X
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0936699108/

And many more....  (Just do a search online for "foraging" or "foraging for food" and you should come across even more information on this vital topic).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Amazing story of heroism as group of people lift car off of injured motorcyclist

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/09/13/earlyshow/main20105286.shtml

We need occasional reminders of what people are capable of doing in times of difficulty and crisis.  The above video is one of these reminders...  A group of bystanders comes together and performs a more or less superhuman act to save a life.
Remember this lesson as the future grows darker...  In the immortal words of Galaxy Quest, "Never give up! Never surrender!" :)  With people coming together for mutual assistance there's nothing that can not be overcome no matter how overwhelming it seems at times.

Census: US poverty rate swells to nearly 1 in 6

http://news.yahoo.com/census-us-poverty-rate-swells-nearly-1-6-142639972.html

QUOTE: "The ranks of America's poor swelled to almost 1 in 6 people last year, reaching a new high as long-term unemployment left millions of Americans struggling and out of work. The number of uninsured edged up to 49.9 million, the biggest in more than two decades."

How many people do you know who are struggling to get by?  How many new jobs do you see becoming available around you?  Using those two benchmarks it is my belief (as I've said before) that all signs point to us being in the early stages of a Second Great Depression.  If the issues in Europe really hit the fan (which could happen very soon) things could get interesting very quickly. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

DOW has biggest loss in three weeks

http://finance.yahoo.com/video/cnbc-22844419/dow-has-biggest-loss-in-3-weeks-26571065
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/09/markets-stocks-idUSN1E7880QH20110909

And I'm guessing this is the reason: http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/09/markets/markets_newyork/

QUOTE (from that CNN article): "There's a lot of nervousness that Greece could default this weekend, and Greek bonds yields keep rising," said Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading. Reports said Germany is preparing to shore up its banks to protect them against a Greek default. If Greece's bonds become worthless, that can trigger capital-requirement problems, and a lot of major banks could go under, Saluzzi said. "The financial contagion could be pretty bad, so investors are getting out now and waiting to see how all of this will shake out," he added."

Keep an eye out this weekend, whether on the foreign financials or the 9/11 anniversary.... 

Earthquake hits off of coast of Vancouver, BC

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/09/us-quake-canada-idUSTRE78867J20110909

QUOTE: The quake with a preliminary 6.7 magnitude created a slight rattling in nearby Seattle, Washington, but police in the U.S. city said there were no reports of damage.

6.7?  That's a pretty strong one.  Here's hoping it's not a preliminary for something greater.  

IMF Chief: World Entering 'Dangerous New Phase'

http://www.cnbc.com/id/44450547

QUOTE: "She warned that both advanced and emerging economies faced key economic challenges, and that governments must "act now" to stop further contagion. "Policymakers should stand ready, as needed, to take more action to support the recovery, including through unconventional measures," Lagarde said. 

"Unconventional measures"?  Oh boy....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Photos of the Great San Diego Blackout

http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/credentialed/article_2e20c71a-db08-11e0-9e78-001cc4c002e0.html

I love San Diego, and can just imagine how this could have gone....  Or might turn out in the future if things had gone on for longer...

9/11 Anniversary attacks? Or just more "Be Very Afraid..."?

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/feds-threat-al-qaeda-terror-attack-911/story?id=14477592

I can't remember a 9/11 date over the past decade that there hasn't been talk of "chatter" and "possible attacks" in the media.  While I'm extremely thankful we haven't seen additional attacks on the scale of 9/11/01 part of me wonders if the "powers that be" want to appear to be diligent and on top of things so they occasionally create the perception of imminent threats which then fade away after the anniversary passes. 
Regardless, if there was going to be a time for another attack a significant date like this weekend could be it so be careful, especially if you live in any population center (or are visiting one like the opening weekend of NFL games...)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sign of the Times?: Entire truckload of meat stolen

http://www.kcci.com/money/29110276/detail.html

42,000 lbs. of meat?  That's a lot of burgers.  But seriously, when I see things like this story (or the one about trucks with tomatoes being hijacked from a few months ago) it causes me to really consider the times we're living in. 

More flood worries for the Eastern US

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_LEE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-09-07-12-49-37

As the old saying goes "When it rains, it pours"...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

67 Shot in Weekend NYC Violence

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Labor-Day-Violence-New-York-City-shootings-129268118.html

Of course Mayor Bloomberg immediately blamed "guns on the streets", but for some reason places with much higher per-capita firearms ownership than NYC had no problems of this type over the weekend. 

Hmmm...  Makes you wonder if there could be other reasons we see these problems in big cities?  However, regardless of the reasons, it is a stark reminder of how bad things could get in a real disaster when you see these events during times of peace and calm. 

Labor leader forgets the "New Civility"

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/09/05/jimmy_hoffa_at_obama_event_on_gop_lets_take_these_son_of_bitches_out.html

If you really think about his words, this is truly troubling.  What a time we live in....

Friday, September 2, 2011

US Economy gains NO jobs in August (first time since World War II)

http://www.cnbc.com/id/44370439

QUOTE: "The US economy created no jobs and the unemployment rate held steadily higher at 9.1 percent in August, fueling concerns that the US is heading for another recession.  It was the first time since World War II that the economy had precisely net zero jobs created for a month. Economists had been expecting the report to show a net of 75,000 jobs created, an unusually low number considering the US is technically more than two years removed from the end of the last recession."

"Another recession?"  For many people I hear from we never left the first one.  And there are many of us who believe we are actually in a 'Greater Depression'.  I'll be discussing more strategies for dealing with economic hardship in an upcoming episode on the podcast. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

AP: Gasoline close to record high before Labor Day

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Gasoline-close-to-record-high-apf-3414950031.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=5&asset=&ccode=

QUOTE: "Gasoline is near the highest it's ever been for this time of year, just ahead of the Labor Day weekend. The run-up in oil prices this year, combined with a rash of refining problems throughout the U.S., has boosted pump prices. The national average on Thursday is $3.629 per gallon. Drivers will pay more for gasoline this Sept. 1 than in any other year except 2008, when pump prices hit an average of $3.686. Retail gasoline prices are rising in the U.S. even though motorists are buying less. Analysts say they have been pushed higher by a steady rise in international gasoline demand. Americans may be using less, but drivers in developing nations are using more."

Anyone remember what else happened back in 2008?  (Hint: It had to do with the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression...)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vermont towns stranded after Hurricane Irene passes through

http://news.yahoo.com/killer-storm-leaves-vt-homeowners-towns-stranded-063750835.html

QUOTE: Flooding isolated entire towns in Vermont and New York, some communities warily watched swollen rivers and more than 2.5 million people from North Carolina to Maine lacked electricity Tuesday, three days after Hurricane Irene churned up the Eastern Seaboard. 


QUOTE #2: "Stranded, nowhere to go," said Martin Saylor, 57, standing by the Rock River on Monday, waiting for his brother to bring in supplies. "Don't want to leave my house because I don't know who's going to break in or whatever. I just don't know what to do."

This is the real reason to prep.  Not that there's anything wrong with trying to be ready for the dead rising from their graves, alien invasions, or Al Gore showing up on your doorstep to check your thermostat.

Suspected North Korean cyberattack on a bank raises fears for S. Korea, allies

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/suspected-north-korean-cyber-attack-on-a-bank-raises-fears-for-s-korea-allies/2011/08/07/gIQAvWwIoJ_story.html

How long until these kinds of covert attacks lead to full-fledged warfare?  Sadly, I believe that day may be growing nearer.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Market crash 'could hit within weeks', warn bankers

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8721151/Market-crash-could-hit-within-weeks-warn-bankers.html

I've been reading and re-reading this article (and the accompanying comments) over the past few days, and was reminded of it when Survivalblog.com posted a link to it yesterday.  While it's hard to know how to interpret media stories at times (as in what the real reason behind the story is) if you take the various people quoted at their word it is a truly harrowing article. 
For example:

QUOTE: "I think we are heading for a market shock in September or October that will match anything we have ever seen before," said a senior credit banker at a major European bank'

If you read some of the various online survival forums you'll notice that quite a lot of people seem to believe that there is an intentional attempt to collapse the current system in order to replace it with something else.  I'm wondering if maybe they're on to something... 

U.N. agency warns of possible bird flu resurgence

http://news.yahoo.com/u-n-agency-warns-possible-bird-flu-resurgence-103648116.html

QUOTE #1: The United Nations warned of a possible major resurgence of bird flu and said a mutant strain of the H5N1 virus was spreading in Asia and elsewhere. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Monday urged increased surveillance and preparation for a potential outbreak of the virus, which it says has infected 565 people since it first appeared in 2003, killing 331 of them.

QUOTE #2: "Preparedness and surveillance remain essential ... no one can let their guard down with H5N1," he added.

"Surveillance"?  I wonder whatever do they mean?  It will be interesting to see if the media treats this potential outbreak the same as the Swine Flu and Hurricane Irene...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fukushima radiation leak equal to 168x that of Hiroshima

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8722400/Fukushima-caesium-leaks-equal-168-Hiroshimas.html

I am always interested in whatever news is being quietly put out under the umbrella of a major story, in this case Hurricane Irene.  I would say that the news coming out of Fukushima continues to be concerning despite the fact that it has dropped off the news map for most major media.  If nothing else it begs the question of what could/will happen if the power gets knocked out to some of the eastern US nuclear reactors because of earthquakes/hurricanes/etc?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sesame Street Guide to Hurricanes (For Kids)

http://www.sesamestreet.org/parents/topicsandactivities/toolkits/hurricane

I probably don't talk enough on the podcast about specific issues pertaining to children, although I do try to touch on such issues from time to time.  One thing that has come up in the last few days is the idea that kids can be quite traumatized by natural disasters such as hurricanes, so the above link might be useful for families living in or near the areas that lay in the path of Hurricane Irene. 

PBS video on the Great Hurricane of 1938

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/hurricane/player/

OVERVIEW: "As the storm made its way across the Atlantic and up the eastern seaboard, there was little warning. Radar had not been invented. The National Weather Bureau predicted it would blow itself out at North Carolina, but it didn't. No one had ever seen a storm like this.  Rhode Island fishermen, residents and vacationers recount what it was like to live through one of the greatest natural disasters recorded in North America."

Might be worth watching in light of Hurricane Irene's path at present...


UH OH: Hurricane Irene turns back towards the Eastern Seaboard

http://www.weather.com/weather/hurricanecentral/article/hurricane-irene-major-northeast-threats_2011-08-23


If you're following the unfolding story of Hurricane Irene you've probably noticed that its path keeps changing going from a major threat to heading out to sea to swinging back towards the Atlantic coast of the US.  Well, as of today it's looking like it could be a MAJOR threat to the heavily populated region along the Eastern Seaboard.  Not good.... 
Stay safe out there. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

AP: Libya's deadliest weapons not yet corralled

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_LIBYA_WEAPONS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-08-23-18-03-12

Now from the "here's something else to worry about" department we have this assessment from the experts that there are still a large number of WMDs floating around in Libya.

QUOTE: "No one can be sure who controls the Libyan government's weapons stockpiles, a stew of deadly chemicals, raw nuclear material and some 30,000 shoulder-fired rockets that officials fear could fall into terrorists' hands in the chaos of Moammar Gadhafi's downfall or afterward."

QUOTE #2: "U.S. and allied officials say chemical and nuclear stockpiles appear to be still under the control of what's left of the Libyan government despite rebel military advances into the capital. That may or may not be reassuring. It depends on whether Gadhafi loyalists, increasingly desperate, adhere to international agreements not to use or move the material."

With their backs against the wall there's no telling what desperate people might do.  At the same time, if these sinister weapons fall into rebel hands they could ultimately be passed on to some other nasty people.  
Interesting times, folks...